Drug & Alcohol Testing:

Managing Drug and Alcohol Misuse at Work – CIPD Report

Published: 9th October 2020

Recently the CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development, published a report on managing drug and alcohol misuse in the workplace. The report, written with input from charities and experts, provides an overview of current employer practice in preventing and managing drug and alcohol misuse at work.

In this blog, we examine some of the findings and recommendations the CIPD identified for employers and how SYNLAB Laboratory Services can help you to apply these in your workplace to identify, deter and rule out drug and alcohol misuse.

Drug and Alcohol Policy

The report stresses the importance of employers having a clear Drug and Alcohol Policy in place. A Policy can play a pivotal role in the workplace acting as a preventative measure to drug and alcohol misuse while supporting the health, safety and welfare of employees at work. The report also found that policies should be regularly reviewed as “policies and approaches need to consider how to deal with recent trends”.

At SYNLAB Laboratory Services we help organisations large and small to implement a tailored Policy with the aim of reducing and deterring substance misuse in the workplace. When it comes to writing a Policy, there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach. Our team of trusted experts provide assistance in producing an effective Policy that incorporates industry guidelines, follows best practice and meets company objectives.

Where a Drug and Alcohol Policy is already in place, we recommend that this is reviewed annually to ensure it remains up-to-date with new and emerging trends, legislation and still meets your business objectives.  


Employers should consider drug and alcohol misuse when designing their wellbeing programme and offerings, the report concluded. An effective drug and alcohol testing programme can act as a deterrent to the misuse of drug and alcohol in the workplace and also increases corporate responsibility. The report quotes Dame Carol Black who wrote: “employers encourage those who are still in work to reduce hazardous drinking and avoid drug use entirely”.

At SYNLAB Laboratory Services, we offer some simple tools including posters, pamphlets and alcohol unit calculator wheels to assist you in reinforcing key messages of your Policy across your organisation, which will inform and raise awareness amongst your employees.


Training line managers is also a preferred route so they feel confident and capable of supporting employees. Currently only 26% of employers provide training on recognising the symptoms of drug and alcohol problems. The report states that line managers “can play a critical role in helping prevent issues and in providing support when a problem with alcohol or drugs emerges”. Investments in line manager capability were rated highly in terms of effectiveness in helping prevent drug and alcohol misuse.

At SYNLAB Laboratory Services, we provide bespoke training solutions to enhance your organisation’s awareness of drug and alcohol misuse in the workplace. Available online or in person, our knowledgeable training team help to keep your team’s knowledge up to date so they are able to carry out drug and alcohol testing accurately, while protecting your existing investment in workplace testing.

We recommend that refresher training is completed every 12 months to ensure your team are kept up to date with new trends, and to retain competency.

Other Recommendations

Other recommendations from the CIPD include:

  • Creating a working environment where people know about the support available to them and feel able to ask for it
  • Supporting employee rehabilitation – providing time off for someone to get treatment or support relating to alcohol or substance misuse
  • Avoiding a drinking cultureconsider the implications for wellbeing and inclusion when planning work events

SYNLAB Laboratory Services helps employers to manage drug and alcohol misuse in the workplace by offering tailored Drug and Alcohol Policies and testing programmes. Information on the services we provide can be found here, for further information contact our customer services team on [email protected] or 01873 856688.

Latest Drug & Alcohol Testing News
SYNLAB Laboratory Services Reaccredited to UKAS 17025

Published: 23rd May 2022 23 May 2022 – SYNLAB Laboratory Services is pleased to announce that they have successfully re-obtained their United Kingdom Accreditation Service…

Read More (about 'SYNLAB Laboratory Services Reaccredited to UKAS 17025')
Webinar Recording: Delivering Legally Defensible Results

Published: 4th May 2022 At SYNLAB Laboratory Services, we understand the need for accuracy, which is why we follow strict Chain of Custody (CoC) procedures….

Read More (about 'Webinar Recording: Delivering Legally Defensible Results')
Webinar Recording: Workplace Drug & Alcohol Testing: Your Options Explained

Published: 20th April 2022  At SYNLAB Laboratory Services, when meeting with companies new to workplace testing, we’re often asked what test options are available to…

Read More (about 'Webinar Recording: Workplace Drug & Alcohol Testing: Your Options Explained')
Webinar Recording: Spotting the Signs of Drug & Alcohol Misuse in the Workplace

Published: 6th April 2022 Watch the recording of our live webinar ‘Spotting the Signs of Drug & Alcohol Misuse in the Workplace’, which took place…

Read More (about 'Webinar Recording: Spotting the Signs of Drug & Alcohol Misuse in the Workplace')